Hotter than hell

Hotter than hell

Most of the Canastreiro clan - my in-law family - lives and works in or around Campo Maior, a small town close to the spanish border. It is famous for being the headquarters of Delta, one of the largest coffee roasters in the Peninsula. It is not a pleasant place to be in the peak of the summer! People there avoid walking in the scorching hot sun and all the blinders are permanently rolled down. People care little about formal clothing or any clothing whatsoever. Everything begs for a little sesta (afternoon nap). Despite all…Read more
Travels in UNESCO lands

Travels in UNESCO lands

Deep inside the Iberian Peninsula lay the great plains of Extremadura, a region with tight connections to the Portuguese Alentejo. Besides the land border - now virtually nonexistent due to the Schengen Area - there are deep cultural bounds that go way back to the time of Roman occupation, when the province of Lusitania was formed. The walled city of Cáceres is a UNESCO world heritage site, with much cultural and historical overlapping between Moorish and Roman urban design and Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Most paths are an intertwining of small squares between wealthy manors and…Read more
Questions kids ask

Questions kids ask

Kids ask the funniest things! While spending the day at Elvas' public outdoor swimming pool with family, João, the nephew, munching down on a famous Maria biscuit, casually threw into the air the question: "Why are there Maria biscuits but not Manel biscuits?" (where Manel could be the unofficial male counterpart to the name Maria). Meanwhile, the sketching activity drew the attention of Maria (the niece, not the biscuit), who soon after became my new sketching best friend, sharing tools and colors!Read more
The odd suburbs of Lisboa

The odd suburbs of Lisboa

  Lisboa's outskirts are peppered with suburbs of different shapes, sizes and styles. They range from forest parks to densely packed residential districts, from slums to industrial areas, from bourgeois waterfront mansions to medieval towns that have been absorbed by the city's ever expanding grid. Queluz is one of those suburbs. It is home to Queluz National Palace, built in the 18th century as a summer home for the royal family. It is but a dwarf variation of the great Rococo palaces of Europe like Versailles. Right next to it rests a tiny urban settlement of old houses and…Read more
Extra! Extra! Thousands perish in gory massacre!

Extra! Extra! Thousands perish in gory massacre!

If snails had headlines, today’s would have sounded like this. Their deaths were not our direct responsibility, mind you, but were indeed warranted by our craving! Portuguese have the knack of snacking hundreds of tiny delicious beings such as snails and fish eggs. Snails are rendered edible by being boiled in different herbs and vegetables, such as onion, garlic, mint or chili, and of course, their own goo! They should be washed down with beer. Fish eggs are boiled, cooled and turned into a yummy salad with onion, garlic [glitch in the matrix], parsley and…Read more
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